Steamboat students make bookmarks to raise money for world literacy |

Steamboat students make bookmarks to raise money for world literacy

Yampa Valley High School student Angel Ballesteros and Soda Creek Elementary School third-grader Evan Quinn make bookmarks Wednesday morning as part of Students Rebuild's Literacy Challenge, which inspires students around the world to make bookmarks to benefit Save the Children's Literacy Boost program.
John F. Russell

— Steamboat Springs students Wednesday learned that the small effort it takes to create a bookmark could help improve literacy rates around the world.

Soda Creek Elementary School third-graders visited Yampa Valley High School to learn how to make bookmarks, with plans to donate them as part of Students Rebuild’s Literacy Challenge.

The challenge is a collaborative effort of Students Rebuild, Save the Children and the Global Nomads Group to improve literacy and writing skills around the world. The Literacy Challenge is one of several projects of Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation that inspires young people to take action on global issues.

For every bookmark students make and send in, the foundation will donate $1 to promote youth literacy efforts in Peru, Mali and Nepal.

A donation of as much as $300,000 will be made by the foundation, which is run by Jackie and Mike Bezos, the parents of Founder Jeff Bezos.

“It’s really heightened student awareness about literacy around the world,” said Sarah Sanders-Peed, a teacher at Yampa Valley High School.

According to the Students Rebuild website, about 250 million children of primary school age around the world cannot read.

A selection of the bookmarks eventually will be distributed to students in the three selected countries via Save the Children, and the funds generated will stock book banks and be used for efforts to improve school attendance, reading comprehension and student self confidence.

After creating more than 100 bookmarks with Yampa Valley High School students Wednesday, Soda Creek third-graders had plans to show their kindergarten buddies at the school how to do the same.

The schools are working on the challenge in collaboration with Bud Werner Memorial Library, which held a kickoff bookmark-a-thon Jan. 19 at the library, where participants created 125 bookmarks to donate. If the bookmarks are sent in before the Valentine’s Day program deadline, the Bezos Family Foundation donations will be doubled to $2 per bookmark.

Other local schools also have stepped up to join the effort.

Steamboat Springs Middle School art teacher Susanmarie Oddo has launched a schoolwide bookmarking campaign, and students in the Steamboat Springs High School Honor Society also have created about 21 bookmarks, according to Alison Lambart, teen services associate librarian at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and a program organizer.

“It’s what we’re all about, literacy and reading,” Lambart said. “The whole thing is so fun, and it’s a community effort.”

The library will continue to collect handmade bookmarks through Feb. 12 and then send the total collection to the Bezos Family Foundation.

The community is encouraged to participate in the bookmark-making efforts and turn them in to the library.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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